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Beauty and the Beast on TV

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While most of us know of Beauty and the Beast as a Disney movie, there's also another side to the story - a very different version - in the "Beauty and the Beast" TV series. What if this age-old tale happened not centuries ago in some far away castle in France, but in modern times, in familiar New York City?

The "Beauty and the Beast" series premiered in 1987 and lasted until 1990. It starred Linda Hamilton, Ron Perlman, and Roy Dotrice. The story begins one night in New York when corporate lawyer Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) is abducted and attacked because of a case of mistaken identity. She is abandoned in Central Park, unconscious and wounded. However, a shadowy man named Vincent (Ron Perlman) finds Catherine and saves her life by caring for her until she is well again. During this time, Vincent watches over Catherine and the two become very close. But once Catherine has healed, she quickly discovers that nothing is what it seems. Vincent is no ordinary man - he's a hideous beast. And the safe haven where she was recuperating is no house or castle, but a hidden world beneath the city, a home for outcasts. Most importantly, Catherine has discovered that something about this encounter has changed her, too. As soon as she leaves, she takes a job in the District Attorney's office to help outcasts like those who were forced to seek refuge in the tunnels. Now Catherine must learn to balance her new life-threatening job, the secrets of the World Below, and her growing relationship with Vincent.

I could go on for hours about the wonderful acting, the fantastic imagery, and the perfection that is the dialogue, but the heart of the matter is that this series goes deeper than most. This show is a place that you can go when you're working through hard times, when something great has happened, or when you're lost and trying to figure out your life. It is full of relevant wisdom.

Vincent, the main focus of the series, is a very enlightened character. No matter what the situation, he always has something wise or uplifting to say - even as he faces his own problems. He seems to always know just the right comforting words to show you how to appreciate life or take on the world. Often, I find myself looking to his example when I need to readjust my perspective. He isn't perfect, not by any means, but that just makes it so much easier to connect with him.

This show is often heavily inspired by poetry and literature. To be honest, I was never that fond of poetry before I discovered this series. However, when a work is quoted during an episode and related to the story, I've found that I suddenly understand it. And since I started watching "Beauty and the Beast", I have a newfound appreciation of the beauty in poetry and literature. In fact, Vincent was the first to introduce me to my favorite poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, who is often quoted during the course of the series' three seasons.

Most of all, "Beauty and the Beast" gave me a new definition of love. Catherine and Vincent's love story is the reason you keep coming back to this show. As I watched their relationship grow, I discovered that there is a kind of love I hadn't considered before - one that transcends appearance, risk, separation - everything. When you watch this love story, you'll find yourself thinking of love in a whole new way.

Yes, it can be cheesy. Yes, it can be strange. And, yes, the entire third season was awful. What show doesn't have flaws? But something about this show gets to you.

Perhaps it was some sort of fate that led me to this show during a very hard time in my life, but whatever might have brought me to it, this series made me reevaluate much of what I thought I had figured out. It will always be very dear to me. I encourage anyone who would enjoy a beautiful, deep, intellectual story to watch a few episodes of this show and really listen to what it has to say.



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